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DEFEND IRISH NEUTRALITY

The 200million Euro MRV ship could easily accommodate a whole infantry company and all its equipment, who could be launched onshore by landing craft. The ship would also have the capability to launch helicopters from its flight deck”.-Irish Examiner  October, 2017

Government Undermining Irish Neutrality

Public Conference Hosted By Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA)

Militarization of  The Euorpean Union And It’s Implication for Irish Neutrality

International Speakers

Oak Room, Mansion House, Dublin

Saturday   February 17,    11.00 AM

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Softly, Softly, Cathchy Monkey Plan  TO END IRISH NEUTRALITY Beginning with Membership of Permanent EU Structured (Military)  Co-Operation ( PESCO)

Author-Colonel Dorcha Lee (Retired) is a former Irish Military Adviser in Brussels and former Irish Military Representative to the Western European Union and to the European Union

EXTRACT FROM FULL IRISH INDEPENDENT ARTICLE Which is Carried in Full Below

“In the mean time, let us hold onto our policy of military neutrality, not as a rigid ideology but rather as a strategy. As a strategy, it has served us well.

However, if and when the time comes to let it go, we need to acknowledge this and give it a decent funeral.”-Colonel Dorcha Lee

 

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael support for  the EU Common Security and  Defence Policy (CDSP) does not threaten our status as being militarily neutral. The PESCO arrangements arise in the agreed CDSP context and have the necessary safeguards also, not to be a threat to our military neutrality. [Meaningless rubbish.] Austria, Sweden and Finland are also signed up.

It could, however be a step in the direction of creating an EU  Defence Union, ultimately leading to Common EU Defence. [How profound!] Moreover, EU Common Defence, if it happens, will be meaningless if it does not contain a mutual defence clause [By definition, common defence involves a mutual defence clause.]

Still, joining in an  EU Common Defence may ultimately be necessary if we wish to remain at the heart of a more integrated EU. [This “heart” of the EU nonsense again. Fortunately, we are not and never will be at the heart of Europe. Our geographical position makes us ideally suited to being a neutral state.] By this time Irish military neutrality will have run its course. [How profound again! If the EU becomes a full federation we don’t need to be told what that means for sovereignty.]

This could be years away, even decades. [That is the standard approach to people who always favour the next EU Treaty. As it happens, in this case he is right as the EU won’t survive.]

In the mean time, let us hold onto our policy of military neutrality, not as a rigid ideology but rather as a strategy. [What does that mean?] As a strategy, it has served us well. However, if and when the time comes to let it go, we need to acknowledge this and give it a decent funeral.” [What does that mean?] – Colonel Dorcha Lee

OPINION

NEUTRALITY HAS SERVED US WELL

–  But we must be prepared to let it go when the time comes.

Dorcha Lee    ( Irish Army Colonel-Retired)

Irish Independent   18/01/2018 Dublin City Edition

(Not available on Line ????)

 

Just before Christmas,  The EU Council approved Structured Co-Operation (PESCO), the new EU initiative to enhance security and defence co-operation. Having delayed a decision as late as possible, Ireland is finally on board  the good ship PESCO, travelling steerage no doubt, to avoid anymeaningful increase in defence spending for as long as possible. [True.]

 

As expected, signing up to PESCO triggered off another Groundhog Day in the great non-debate on our national policy of Military Neutrality. The same jaded arguments were recycled by the same politicians and commentators.

 

No surprise there, as the usual suspects emerged briefly from their entrenched positions, provoked by real, or perceived threats to our defence policy. Sadly no new thinking either, just the same old red herrings tossed into the debate by both sides. [New thinking not required to defend an important national policy but Lee isn’t thinking at all.]

 

Both sides too began and ended their contributions with ritualistic tributes to the work of the men and women of the defence forces. Anything to avoid confronting the real priorities of national defence. [Lee is correct that the anti-neutrality side doesn’t want to spend money on defence if they can get away with it. Joining PESCO is more of a political statement by a bankrupt political class. It is of a piece with the “we are at the heart of Europe” nonsense.]

 

What was different this time in the debate was the Taoiseach’s recent announcement that he favoured Ireland remaining neutral, but that he did not always support this view. Interesting. [Yes.] Was Leo formerly a NATO enthusiast? Given his current position as Taoiseach and Minister for Defence, it is at least reassuring to know that he now supports Government policy on  neutrality. But what do we really mean by military neutrality? [What does Lee, a retired colonel, mean by military neutrality?]

 

The starting point for any debate is to agree on a definition. In the White Paper on Defence 2015, our national policy is defined in negative terms. We are not part of a military alliance, and not militarily committed under a mutual defence clause. The former means we are obviously not joining NATO and the latter means we are not militarily committed under a mutual defence clause, either through a military alliance, or with another state. I mention the latter to point out that a mutual defence clause with another stateis an alternative option to joining a military alliance. Geographically, the UK comes to mind, but to keep celebrity historians happy, let us mention France and Spain, which were formerly, at different times, our allies in arms.

 

All our mainstream political parties eem to go along with the White Paper definition. In fairness to Sinn Féin, its Positive Neutrality document presents neutrality in more positive terms.However, its historical justification for neutrality is somewhat convoluted. The suggestion that Wolfe Tone was a neutralist is stretching things a bit [No, it isn’t, and PANA should issue a press release about this], considering he wore the uniform of France with pride. However, both Labour and Sinn Féin are so committed to neutrality that they want it enshrined in the straitjacket of the Constitution. [I would settle for the Hague Convention in law as many other states have done.]

 

The problem in including military neutrality, or any alternative  defence policy, in the Constitution, is that it could tie the hands of a fuiture government in a national emergency. [The Constitution is intended to limit the power of the state/government. That’s the whole point of having one.]

 

You only have to look at attempts to repeal the 8th amendment to appreciate how long it takes to change the Constitution. [Constitutions should not be changed regularly. We have changed ours far too much in recent decades. What was a coherent, well written document in 1980 is increasingly badly written and incoherent and appears to have doubled in size.] Moreover the consequences of including military neutrality in the Constitution, for our long termposition in the EU is problematic. [Why? Other countries have put the Hague Convention into law.]

 

Even if they(Government?) were to show a determination to defend our policy of military neutrality, by say,  also enshrining a commitment to minimum defence spending in the Constitution [no need for that], it could still  block Ireland’s full participation in a more integrated EU. [No. If the electorate ever favoured becoming a German lander, which I doubt, matters would take their course as happened after 1972.]

 

In resetting the priorities for national defence, the most important consideration  should be to opt for politico/military alignment that best provides for the security and defence of the state.  This is (so) whether we are neutral,  non-aligned, members of NATO or participants in a future  EU Common Defence. The second priority is to properly fund defence no matter which political alignment we have opted for. [This requires national control over state policy. You could say the same about “monetary policy” instead of national defence” (first line) and the answer would be the same. National control required.]

 

Let Us Hold on to Our Policy of Military Neutrality as a Strategy

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael support for  the EU Common Security and  Defence Policy (CDSP) does not threaten our status as being militarily neutral. The PESCO arrangements arise in the agreed CDSP context and have the necessary safeguards also,not to be a threat to our military neutrality. Austria, Sweden and Finland are also signed up. [Dealt with above.]

 

It could ,however be a step in the direction of creating an Eu  Defence Union, ultimately leading to Common EU Defence. Moreover, EU Common  Defence, if it happens, will be meaningless if it doe not contain a mutual defence clause Still, joining in an  EU Common Defence may ultimately be necessary if we wish to remain at the heart of a more integrated EU. By this time Irish military neutrality will have run its course. This could be years away, even decades. In the mean time, let us hold onto our policy of military neutrality, not as a rigid ideology but rather as a strategy. As a strategy, it has served us well.  However, if and when the time comes to let it go, we need to acknowledge this and give it a decent funeral. [Dealt with above.]

 

Colonel Dorcha Lee (Retired) is a former Irish Military Adviser in Brussels and former Irish Military Representative to the Western European Union and to the European Union

 

Western European Union- Wikipedia

 

The WEU was established by seven European nations allied with the United States(the Western Bloc and NATO members) during the Cold War.

The Western European Union (WEU; French: Union de l’Europe occidentale, UEO) was an international organisation and military alliance, tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels (1954), an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels. The WEU was established by seven European nations allied with the United States(the Western Bloc and NATO members) during the Cold War.

After the end of the Cold War, WEU tasks and institutions were gradually transferred to the Common Security and Defence Policy of the geographically larger, and in terms of integration more comprehensive, European Union. This process was completed in 2009 when a solidarity clause between the member states of the European Union, which was similar (but not identical) to the WEU’s mutual defence clause, entered into force with the Treaty of Lisbon. The states party to the Modified Treaty of Brussels consequently decided to terminate that treaty on 31 March 2010, with all the remaining WEU’s activities to be ceased within 15 months. On 30 June 2011, the WEU was officially declared defunct.[1]

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Irelands First Contribution to  PESCO?

https://wp.me/pKzXa-Ut

Government To Purchase Huge Ship From Which Helicopters Can Be Launched

Navy considers Buying €200m multi-role ship

From Irish Examiner- The naval base including the naval college is in Haulbowline , Co Cork

We could join Macrons proposed invasion of Libya with this ship. We could even put Irish soldiers ashore in landing craft. The Air Force could also participate from the helicopter deck!!!Will the 200 million or part thereof be in the October budget??

 

Irish Examiner, Thursday,  October 12,  2017   By Sean O’Riordan 

Navy considers €200m multi-role ship

“Not only could the vessel be used overseas……………The MRV could easily accommodate a whole infantry company and all its equipment, who could be launched onshore by landing craft. The ship would also have the capability to launch helicopters from its flight deck”

 

The Naval Service could have a new multi-role vessel (MRV) built and operational wthin the next three years.

A delegation is set to visit New Zealand shortly to look at a warship which could become a blueprint for the new ship — and could cost up to €200m to construct.

A small group consisting of Department of Defence officials and experts from the Defence Forces have been invited by the New Zealand government to inspect HMNZS Canterbury, which was designed by the New Zealand navy.

An MRV could measure up to 150m in length, dwarfing the navy’s largest vessel which is 90m long.

It is intended that it will replace the ageing LÉ Niamh as the navy’s flagship.

The MRV could easily accommodate a whole infantry company and all its equipment, who could be launched onshore by landing craft. The ship would also have the capability to launch helicopters from its flight deck.

Former taoiseach Enda Kenny referred to the need to purchase a multi-functional ship, which could also include a mini onboard hospital, when he commissioned LÉ William Butler Yeats last year.

Following the Budget, Paul Kehoe, minister with responsibility for the Defence Forces, said additional capital funding secured by the Department of Defence would allow it to commence the “process of procuring” an MRV.

The New Zealand ship has been deployed successfully on humanitarian missions, especially to providing help following natural disasters which hit neighbouring countries in recent years.

Once the inspection of the Canterbury is completed, representatives of the Naval Service, Army and Air Corps will sit down and come up with a design which is mutually acceptable for tripartite operations on the vessel.

Defence Forces sources said the ship will need to be adapted for flexible operations, which will include rapid deployment in crisis areas, be they military or humanitarian operations.

Not only could the vessel be used overseas, but it could be deployed for disaster relief here, as well as drug shipment interceptions and more routine duties such as fishery protection.

A source said a Canterbury-type ship was “very much along the lines of what we want”. The Naval Service is already at its most modern since its foundation in 1946.

The fourth new ship for the fleet, LÉ George Bernard Shaw, costing €67m, is currently being constructed at a shipyard in Appledore, Devon, and will be delivered to the Naval Service next summer.

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Government To Spend 250 million on 4 new Ships for Naval Service

Minister Replies QUESTION NO : 286  From Deputy Clare Daly

DEPUTY CLARE DALY.  FOR WRITTEN ANSWER ON WEDNESDAY, 25TH OCTOBER, 2017.

Ref No: 45237/17 Proof: 276

To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the reason existing Naval Service ships were not refurbished for a fraction of the purchase cost of new ships including multi role vessels the utility of which to the Naval Service is unclear in view of the almost €0.5 billion expenditure on new ships for the Naval Service over recent years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

  REPLY  

  Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Paul Kehoe, T.D.):

My priority as Minister with Responsibility for Defence is to ensure that the operational capability of the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service is maintained to the greatest extent possible so as to enable the Defence Forces to carry out their roles as assigned by Government as set out in the White Paper on Defence. Equipment priorities for the Army, Air Corps and Naval Service are being considered in the context of the lifetime of the White Paper on Defence as part of the capability development and equipment planning process. 

In this context the principal aim over the period of the White Paper will be to replace and upgrade, as required, existing capabilities in order to retain a flexible response for a wide range of operational requirements at home and overseas. The Defence Capital envelope for the period 2018-2021 is €416m and this will enable investment in major equipment platforms, including the refurbishment and replacement of Naval Service Vessels.

The White Paper underpins the ongoing replacement of the Naval Service fleet. A significant investment over recent years has been on the procurement of new Off-Shore Patrol Vessels for the Naval Service. The third ship in the programme, LÉ William Butler Yeats, was commissioned in to service in October 2016. A contract for an additional sister ship was placed with Babcock International, a British company, in June 2016 bringing investment in the new ships programme to over €250 million since 2010. The fourth ship, to be named LÉ George Bernard Shaw is scheduled for delivery in mid-2018.  

The acquisition of these modern new vessels, combined with an ongoing maintenance regime for all vessels within the fleet, and the continuous process of refurbishment, refit and repair, will ensure that the operational capabilities of the Naval Service, as the States principal seagoing agency, are maintained to the greatest extent.

The service life of a Naval Service ship is determined by the level of operational activity. It is normal practice in a ship’s life cycle to carry out a mid-life refurbishment programme so as to extend the useful life of the ship to thirty or more years. In that regard, the Defence Organisation has commenced planning for a mid-life refurbishment programme for the LÉ Roisin (built in 1999) and the LÉ Niamh (built in 2001). This structured mid-life refurbishment programme will future proof the vessels, allow for preventative maintenance and address obsolescence of equipment through capitalising on advancements in technology, thus ensuring reliability of the vessels for the next 15 years.

Three ships in the current flotilla are over 30 years old (LÉ Eithne and LÉ Ciara were built in 1984 and LÉ Orla was built in 1985). The White Paper provides for the replacement of the current Naval Service flagship LÉ Eithne with a multi role vessel (MRV) which will be enabled for helicopter operations and will also have a freight carrying capacity. It is the intention to hold a public tender competition in due course to cover the supply of the MRV subject to the availability of funding within the overall Defence capital funding envelope. The cost of the MRV will only be known once the tender competition is concluded. Future Naval Service capabilities are being planned as part of the White Paper project planning process which will determine the Defence Organisation’s maritime capability requirements.

 


Softly, Softly, Cathchy Monkey Plan  TO END IRISH NEUTRALITY Through Membership of Permanent EU Structured (Military)  Co-Operation ( PESCO)

Author-Colonel Dorcha Lee (Retired) is a former Irish Military Adviser in Brussels and former Irish Military Representative to the Western European Union and to the European Union

EXTRACT FROM FULL IRISH INDEPENDENT ARTICLE Which is Carried in Full Below

“In the mean time, let us hold onto our policy of military neutrality, not as a rigid ideology but rather as a strategy. As a strategy, it has served us well.

However, if and when the time comes to let it go, we need to acknowledge this and give it a decent funeral.”-Colonel Dorcha Lee

 

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael support for  the EU Common Security and  Defence Policy (CDSP) does not threaten our status as being militarily neutral. The PESCO arrangements arise in the agreed CDSP context and have the necessary safeguards also, not to be a threat to our military neutrality. [Meaningless rubbish.] Austria, Sweden and Finland are also signed up.

It could, however be a step in the direction of creating an EU  Defence Union, ultimately leading to Common EU Defence. [How profound!] Moreover, EU Common Defence, if it happens, will be meaningless if it does not contain a mutual defence clause [By definition, common defence involves a mutual defence clause.]

Still, joining in an  EU Common Defence may ultimately be necessary if we wish to remain at the heart of a more integrated EU. [This “heart” of the EU nonsense again. Fortunately, we are not and never will be at the heart of Europe. Our geographical position makes us ideally suited to being a neutral state.] By this time Irish military neutrality will have run its course. [How profound again! If the EU becomes a full federation we don’t need to be told what that means for sovereignty.]

This could be years away, even decades. [That is the standard approach to people who always favour the next EU Treaty. As it happens, in this case he is right as the EU won’t survive.]

In the mean time, let us hold onto our policy of military neutrality, not as a rigid ideology but rather as a strategy. [What does that mean?] As a strategy, it has served us well. However, if and when the time comes to let it go, we need to acknowledge this and give it a decent funeral.” [What does that mean?] – Colonel Dorcha Lee

OPINION

NEUTRALITY HAS SERVED US WELL

–  But we must be prepared to let it go when the time comes.

Dorcha Lee    ( Irish Army Colonel-Retired)

Irish Independent   18/01/2018 Dublin City Edition

(Not available on Line ????)

 

Just before Christmas,  The EU Council approved Structured Co-Operation (PESCO), the new EU initiative to enhance security and defence co-operation. Having delayed a decision as late as possible, Ireland is finally on board  the good ship PESCO, travelling steerage no doubt, to avoid anymeaningful increase in defence spending for as long as possible. [True.]

 

As expected, signing up to PESCO triggered off another Groundhog Day in the great non-debate on our national policy of Military Neutrality. The same jaded arguments were recycled by the same politicians and commentators.

 

No surprise there, as the usual suspects emerged briefly from their entrenched positions, provoked by real, or perceived threats to our defence policy. Sadly no new thinking either, just the same old red herrings tossed into the debate by both sides. [New thinking not required to defend an important national policy but Lee isn’t thinking at all.]

 

Both sides too began and ended their contributions with ritualistic tributes to the work of the men and women of the defence forces. Anything to avoid confronting the real priorities of national defence. [Lee is correct that the anti-neutrality side doesn’t want to spend money on defence if they can get away with it. Joining PESCO is more of a political statement by a bankrupt political class. It is of a piece with the “we are at the heart of Europe” nonsense.]

 

What was different this time in the debate was the Taoiseach’s recent announcement that he favoured Ireland remaining neutral, but that he did not always support this view. Interesting. [Yes.] Was Leo formerly a NATO enthusiast? Given his current position as Taoiseach and Minister for Defence, it is at least reassuring to know that he now supports Government policy on  neutrality. But what do we really mean by military neutrality? [What does Lee, a retired colonel, mean by military neutrality?]

 

The starting point for any debate is to agree on a definition. In the White Paper on Defence 2015, our national policy is defined in negative terms. We are not part of a military alliance, and not militarily committed under a mutual defence clause. The former means we are obviously not joining NATO and the latter means we are not militarily committed under a mutual defence clause, either through a military alliance, or with another state. I mention the latter to point out that a mutual defence clause with another stateis an alternative option to joining a military alliance. Geographically, the UK comes to mind, but to keep celebrity historians happy, let us mention France and Spain, which were formerly, at different times, our allies in arms.

 

All our mainstream political parties eem to go along with the White Paper definition. In fairness to Sinn Féin, its Positive Neutrality document presents neutrality in more positive terms.However, its historical justification for neutrality is somewhat convoluted. The suggestion that Wolfe Tone was a neutralist is stretching things a bit [No, it isn’t, and PANA should issue a press release about this], considering he wore the uniform of France with pride. However, both Labour and Sinn Féin are so committed to neutrality that they want it enshrined in the straitjacket of the Constitution. [I would settle for the Hague Convention in law as many other states have done.]

 

The problem in including military neutrality, or any alternative  defence policy, in the Constitution, is that it could tie the hands of a fuiture government in a national emergency. [The Constitution is intended to limit the power of the state/government. That’s the whole point of having one.]

 

You only have to look at attempts to repeal the 8th amendment to appreciate how long it takes to change the Constitution. [Constitutions should not be changed regularly. We have changed ours far too much in recent decades. What was a coherent, well written document in 1980 is increasingly badly written and incoherent and appears to have doubled in size.] Moreover the consequences of including military neutrality in the Constitution, for our long termposition in the EU is problematic. [Why? Other countries have put the Hague Convention into law.]

 

Even if they(Government?) were to show a determination to defend our policy of military neutrality, by say,  also enshrining a commitment to minimum defence spending in the Constitution [no need for that], it could still  block Ireland’s full participation in a more integrated EU. [No. If the electorate ever favoured becoming a German lander, which I doubt, matters would take their course as happened after 1972.]

 

In resetting the priorities for national defence, the most important consideration  should be to opt for politico/military alignment that best provides for the security and defence of the state.  This is (so) whether we are neutral,  non-aligned, members of NATO or participants in a future  EU Common Defence. The second priority is to properly fund defence no matter which political alignment we have opted for. [This requires national control over state policy. You could say the same about “monetary policy” instead of national defence” (first line) and the answer would be the same. National control required.]

 

Let Us Hold on to Our Policy of Military Neutrality as a Strategy

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael support for  the EU Common Security and  Defence Policy (CDSP) does not threaten our status as being militarily neutral. The PESCO arrangements arise in the agreed CDSP context and have the necessary safeguards also,not to be a threat to our military neutrality. Austria, Sweden and Finland are also signed up. [Dealt with above.]

 

It could ,however be a step in the direction of creating an Eu  Defence Union, ultimately leading to Common EU Defence. Moreover, EU Common  Defence, if it happens, will be meaningless if it doe not contain a mutual defence clause Still, joining in an  EU Common Defence may ultimately be necessary if we wish to remain at the heart of a more integrated EU. By this time Irish military neutrality will have run its course. This could be years away, even decades. In the mean time, let us hold onto our policy of military neutrality, not as a rigid ideology but rather as a strategy. As a strategy, it has served us well.  However, if and when the time comes to let it go, we need to acknowledge this and give it a decent funeral. [Dealt with above.]

 

Colonel Dorcha Lee (Retired) is a former Irish Military Adviser in Brussels and former Irish Military Representative to the Western European Union and to the European Union

 

Western European Union- Wikipedia

 

The WEU was established by seven European nations allied with the United States(the Western Bloc and NATO members) during the Cold War.

The Western European Union (WEU; French: Union de l’Europe occidentale, UEO) was an international organisation and military alliance, tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels (1954), an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels. The WEU was established by seven European nations allied with the United States(the Western Bloc and NATO members) during the Cold War.

After the end of the Cold War, WEU tasks and institutions were gradually transferred to the Common Security and Defence Policy of the geographically larger, and in terms of integration more comprehensive, European Union. This process was completed in 2009 when a solidarity clause between the member states of the European Union, which was similar (but not identical) to the WEU’s mutual defence clause, entered into force with the Treaty of Lisbon. The states party to the Modified Treaty of Brussels consequently decided to terminate that treaty on 31 March 2010, with all the remaining WEU’s activities to be ceased within 15 months. On 30 June 2011, the WEU was officially declared defunct.[1]

 

 

 

 

 

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MILITARISATION OF EUROPE IS A FUNDAMENTAL THREAT TO IRISH NEUTRALITY

European Parliament Resolution of 21 January 2016 on the Mutual Defence Clause

Defend Irish Neutrality   https://wp.me/pKzXa-Ut

Autonomous, Strong and Sustainable European Defence Union Recommended

(“Autonomous” means free from any US Veto as pertains in NATO)

Mutual defence clause (Article 42(7) TEU)

European Parliament resolution of 21 January 2016 on the mutual defence clause (Article 42(7) TEU) (2015/3034(RSP))
The European Parliament,
– having regard to Title V of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and in particular Article
42(7) thereof,
– having regard to Articles 2(4) and 222 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),
– having regard to its resolution of 22 November 2012 on the EU’s mutual defence and solidarity clauses: political and operational dimensions,  …………….………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

  1. Calls for an EU common foreign policy on the future of Syria and the broader Middle East in coordination with all relevant actors; considers that this policy should be an integral part of the future EU Global Strategy;
    18. Considers the activation of the mutual assistance clause a unique opportunity to establish the grounds for a strong and sustainable European Defence Union; is of the opinion that only with an autonomous security and defence capability will the EU be equipped and ready to face the overwhelming internal and external security threats and challenges;
    19. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the United Nations Secretary-General, the President of the United States and the US Secretary of Defence.

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From Blog Cedar Lounge Revolution
World By Storm(Administrator)

A Quid Pro Quo Too Far. . . .  Follow Discussion https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2018/01/16/a-quid-pro-quo-too-far/

Dr Mary C Murphy of the Department of Politics and Government at UCC said there may be an element of “payback” for Ireland in return for the support the State has received from others members of the EU27.

Dr Murphy was speaking in the final session of the Killarney Economic Conference which was chaired by Mark Hennessy of The Irish Times.
She set out possible scenarios in which Ireland might be required to be giving in terms of neutrality or taxation, in a debate on the future of Europe.
“It may open up a lot of difficulties for Irish voters. We do not have a strong Eurosceptic party in Ireland. That is not to say that one not will evolve”
But why should the Republic alter its position on neutrality given that other EU states are also neutral. This is something that is afforded far too little attention in this state. The attitude appears to be that Ireland is a solitary hold-out in relation to neutrality. But this is simply not the case.

Paddy Healy-This is a major national issue.

In the most recent Sunday Business Post , Ray Basset, former assistant secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs, says that there is a suspicion that Ireland Has Joined European Permanent Structured Military Co-Operation (PESCO) to “keep the EU sweet” in the context of Brexit
Defend Irish Neutrality (Including PANA STATEMENT) https://wp.me/pKzXa-Ut
The then President of the right wing lobby group Institute of International and European Affairs(IIEA), Brendan Halligan, advocated that Ireland gives up neutrality precisely for this purpose at the Glenties Summer School.(Also Opinion Piece in Irish Times by Brendan Halligan)
European members of Nato spend 2% of GDP on “Defence”. There will be pressure on Ireland to spend extra billions on defence to meet this target within PESCO. In the context of Government refusal to tax the super-rich and prohibitions on borrowing within the European Fiscal Treaty, this is likely to happen at the expense of necessary increases in public spending on health, housing, education etc.

Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) will host a major conference with international speakers on the implications of the Militarisation of Europe in the Mansion House in Mid-February

NB FrenchPresident Macron is advocating a new invasion of Libya. The Irish Navy has joined the new Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean which is not just a rescue mission, but is now also committed to returning refugees to Libya. Medecin Sans Frontiére says these are detained in torture and rape camps in Libya. Macron is using the awfulness of these camps to justify the new invasion of Libya!!!!!!

Building International Structures for Peace in 2018

Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA)Press Release

PANA WELCOMES RECENT UN ASSEMBLY DECISION TO MAKE MIIITARY AGRESSION A WAR CRIME

Roger Cole of PANA stated that An Taoiseach has become an expert on new military terminology and spin; where the narrative or war propaganda now suggests it’s all about humanitarian interventions, collateral damage, security threats and managing mass migration.

 

“The United Nations and the International Criminal Court have provided a certain level of peace, stability, hope and justice since the Second World War. They have done this despite geopolitical interests, and attempts by the more powerful nations on the UN Security Council to control decisions and intimidate smaller nations with threats of isolation, intervention and war to threats to withdraw aid, funding and contracts.

The Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court held its sixteenth session from 4 to 14 December 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Assembly agreed to extend its jurisdiction to include the crime of aggression as a war crime which is a major change in international law, perhaps the most important for years,

 

PANA welcomes this decision and will seek legal advice on its implications, as it is critical for the Court’s credibility that recognition of the crime of aggression is accompanied by reform of the ICC so that it can hold all countries and their leaders to account, not just third world dictators.

Three million US troops have used Shannon Airport over the past 15 years as a stopover on their way to imperialist wars, so we need to examine this new addition closely to see if it includes “complicity with wars of aggression” as an offence.

Speaking at a Christmas media briefing, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD said Ireland was a military neutral state which could become a diplomatic asset, insisting the country would not seek to join NATO.

Roger Cole of PANA stated that An Taoiseach has become an expert on new military terminology and spin; where the narrative or war propaganda now suggests it’s all about humanitarian interventions, collateral damage, security threats and managing mass migration.

This is the same leader who recently pushed ahead with a government motion on PESCO despite strong opposition from 42 TDs that this agreement would move us closer to a European Army/Naval Force linked to NATO.

 

There should be no confusion about the definition of Irish neutrality if our starting point is ‘no complicity with imperialist wars of aggression’. We must see through the spin and work together in building and improving international structures for Peace, Justice and Hope in 2018 ”

To confirm this Press Release please contact;

Tom Crilly, Communications Officer, PANA … Tel   087 2937558

Roger Cole, Chairperson, PANA, … Tel 087 2611597

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VERADKAR “Change of Mind To Support Irish Neutrality” is Just a Cover UP

Taoiseach’s Real Aim is To END IRISH NEUTRALITY PERMANENTLY AND IMMEDIATELY

Recent Statement By Veradkar on Irish Neutrality Just Below this Analysis

Veradkar is the most right wing FG leader since Eoin O’Duffy, leader of the Blueshirts. Two thirds of FG rank and file voted against him in the leadership contest.  His selling point to FG TDs and councillors is that he is skilled in use of social media and communication (deception) strategies generally. This, they hope, will be key to getting them elected in a situation in which government  will not put adequate monies into housing and health. Because of the Fiscal Treaty (which doesn’t allow them to borrow for spending purposes), they could only get the money by taxing the huge and growing incomes and assets of the super-rich. This is the last thing they want to do.

Veradkar’s recent statement on housing and homelessness is a classic piece of deception.  “Leo Varadkar admitted he was unable to say when real progress would be made to bring the homeless levels down. Referring to a recent report that the biggest single cause of homelessness is family breakdown, Mr Varadkar added: “How can I predict how many families are going to break down next year?”-Irish Times, Christmas Eve, 2017 (see my blog post MEDIA BIAS IN FAVOUR OF RICH AND POWERFUL   https://wp.me/pKzXa-Kd)

This cynical statement is designed to cover up the refusal to build the required number of council houses.

The Veradkar statement on Irish Neutrality must be seen in this light. In my view, his denial of any intention to join NATO is a cover for joining a Franco-German Military Alliance in a manner which would do the greatest damage to Irish Neutrality since the decision to allow the US to use Shannon as an air base.

NATO, dominated by the US, was the only western military alliance available to Ireland until  recently. This situation has now changed. The EU has now launched a new military alliance entitled PESCO.

The EU led by the Franco-German Alliance is now a major world capitalist power rivalling the USA. Serious economic conflict is now developing between EU and USA. The letter of the 5 big EU powers to Trump is but the latest development (See on my blog Top EU economic powers warn US about tax plans!https://wp.me/pKzXa-xK  ) Economic conflicts between major capitalist powers preceded the two world wars. These conflicts always have an impact on military alliances including shifting of military alliances (remember the Stalin-Hitler Pact!!)

Despite the cooing courtship between EU and NATO at the recent Brussels meeting, there are underlying tensions. The key thing about PESCO is that it is under the sole control of EU powers and that US/NATO has no veto or control over its direction.

In my view, the meaning of the Veradkar statement is that the Irish Government has now decided to throw in it’s lot with the Franco Gernan Alliance rather than with US/NATO.  Trump’s changes to Corporations Profits tax and the need of the Irish state for European support should Brexit occur (See Brendan Halligan’s Opinion Piece further down) are likely to be factors in this decision.

Veradkar will turn out to be the chief final destroyer of Irish Neutrality if he is allowed to prevail . Praising his deceptive initiatives, as some neutrality activists are doing, is a big mistake as these initiatives are merely cynical stratagems to cloak his real intentions.

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Irish Neutrality To be Undermined. Government proposes integration into new EU Military Structure(PESCO). Huge increase in Irish Military Spending required at the expense of Housing, Health, Education, Welfare. Meanwhile, France PROPOSES NEW INVASION OF LIBYA
PANA STATEMENT                                          Defend Our Neutrality  https://wp.me/pKzXa-Ut
PESCO ( Permanent Structured Co-operation)

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Veradkar Spins Ending of Irish Neutrality

Philip Ryan,  Irish Independent,  December 24 2017 2:30 AM

‘Neutrality is different now’ says Varadkar

Ireland ready to ‘opt in’ with European nations to tackle migration crisis and cyber attacks

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the definition of military neutrality has changed dramatically since Ireland declared itself a neutral state during World War II.

Mr Varadkar insisted neutrality meant “something different now” and said Ireland was not neutral when it came to human trafficking, the migrant crisis and cyber attacks. (Ceding Neutrality to Join Military Wing of EU-PESCO-PH)

“In the 1940s, it was about not taking part in the Second World War. It is different now because the security challenges and security threats are different,” he said.

“For example, things like cyber security and cyber terrorism, people interfering in other people’s elections using online tools. It’s managing mass migration. It’s human trafficking. (justification for Irish Navy assisting return of refugees to torture camps in Libya-PH)

“That’s why we’ve decided, for example, not to be neutral on those things and to get involved with other countries, particularly other European countries on an opt-in basis to play our part in dealing with those security threats.”

The Taoiseach’s comments come weeks after the Government signed up to a controversial new European Union military pact which allows members states to pool resources when buying defence equipment and taking part in training.

Left-wing TDs claim the so-called Pesco agreement is unconstitutional and a breach of our neutral status. People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the deal was part of a plan to create an EU army.

However, the Government has insisted the country’s neutrality will not be affected by the defence pact.

Speaking at a Christmas media briefing, Mr Varadkar said he had not always held the view that Ireland should be a neutral state but had come to learn that the country’s lack of a military force could be a diplomatic asset.

“Ireland is a small country. We’re never going to be a significant military power. Nobody is going to want to be close to us diplomatically because we have military assets and we just aren’t ever going to have a big navy or a big air force. So where we can actually can be strong diplomatically and put our foreign policy forward is by doing things that are a little bit unique to Ireland,” he said.

He said Irish officials were campaigning for a seat on the UN Security Council but insisted the country would not seek to join Nato.

A briefing document prepared for Junior Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe states that Pesco has “no implications for Ireland’s policy of military neutrality or for the ‘triple-lock’ on the deployment of Irish forces overseas”.

“Participation in Pesco should also be seen in a wider international security environment and the ever-changing complex security threats to European citizens. The Government attaches great importance to our position of military neutrality which is restated in the White Paper on Defence,” it added.

 

 

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As Irish Navy Co-Operates with NATO and EU powers to return refugees to torture camps in Libya. . .  

Not mentioned in Dáil Debate on PESCO or covered in Irish Media

 NATO-EU MEETING

“We are taking cooperation between NATO and the EU to a new level,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Dec 5 2017, Brussels

Stoltenberg spoke proudly of the agreement NATO hadforged with the EU last year which had seen “42 Concrete Measures” f Military Co-Operation, singling out two of these for special mention. These were cyber threats and  “NATO’s Maritime Operation SEA Guardian” which provides critical support to the EU’s Operation Sophia”- Article on PESCO in Phoenix  Dec 22,2017

 NATO-EU MEETING

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_149616.htm

NATO Website

Foreign Ministers agreed to step up NATO’s cooperation with the European Union on Tuesday (5 December 2017). Joint work between the organisations will include three new areas: military mobility, information sharing in the fight against terrorism, and promoting women’s role in peace and security. “We are taking cooperation between NATO and the EU to a new level,” said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Joint press conference

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and EU High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini following the meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the level of NATO Foreign Ministers

(As delivered)

Good evening.

We have just finished a meeting with the NATO Foreign Ministers where we were joined by High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini and also the Foreign Ministers of Sweden and Finland.

And I will start by thanking Federica for being with us and for joining us in addressing an issue which is of great importance both for NATO and for the EU. And that is European defence and the cooperation between NATO and the EU. And I would also like to thank you, Federica, for your strong personal commitment, for the hard work you’ve been putting into this over a long period of time which has resulted in real progress.

And this is important for both NATO and the EU because we know that 90% or actually more than 90% of the people in the EU are citizens of a NATO country. We face the same security environment, we face the same challenges. And therefore we have to respond together based on our common values.

And back in July 2016, I signed a joint declaration with the Presidents Juncker and Tusk and after that Federica and I followed up with 42 concrete measures and we have been working on the implementation of these measures since then, and we have really made progress.

For instance on countering hybrid threats.

Federica and I inaugurated the Centre of Excellence in Helsinki a few weeks ago.

On cyber, NATO and the European Union can now exchange warnings about cyber-attacks and malware in real time.

And just last week, the EU participated in NATO’s Cyber Coalition exercise, one of the biggest in the world, yet another example of how we are strengthening our concrete cooperation.

In the maritime domain, NATO’s maritime operation Sea Guardian provides critical support to the EU’s Operation Sophia.

And there are many other examples but now today, tonight, we agreed on additional measures. So the task for Federica and me, for our staff for the European Union, for NATO, is to make sure that we are fully implementing those measures. And let me just mention three new areas where we have agreed to strengthen our cooperation.

First – moving our forces and equipment quickly is vital for our security. This means we need procedures for rapid border crossing.

As well as sufficient transport assets. And robust infrastructure meaning roads, railways, ports and airports. So it’s obvious that this is an area where we need strong and very detailed and concrete cooperation between NATO and EU when it comes to military mobility. And our aim is to make military mobility a new flagship for the NATO-EU cooperation.

Second – in the fight against terrorism, we decided to strengthen the exchange of information between us. And to coordinate our counter-terrorism support for partner countries.

And third – we will do more together to promote women’s role in peace and security.

In our own organisations, and in our military operations. It’s not just the right thing to do, but it’s also the smart thing to do.

So we are taking cooperation between NATO and the EU to a new level. This is more important than ever, as the EU looks to strengthen European defence, through Permanent Structured Cooperation and the European Defence Fund.

These steps can lead to increased defence spending, more modern capabilities, and fairer transatlantic burden sharing.

To ensure these efforts complement what NATO does, we must keep in mind some key principles: EU and NATO capability development must be coherent. Because we cannot present conflicting requirements and priorities to our nations. Forces and capabilities must be available for both EU and NATO. And non-EU Allies need to be involved to the fullest extent possible. Because they play an important role in European security.

NATO has ensured European peace and security for almost seventy years. And remains the cornerstone of our collective defence.

At the same time, we are determined to further strengthen our cooperation with the EU.

So for me it’s really a great pleasure to once again meet with Federica, to discuss and to agree and decide on how we take this cooperation further and then to know that we will work together also making sure that the we are implementing those measures. So welcome again, and please, you have the floor.

MODERATOR: We have time for a few questions: Wall Street Journal.

Q (Wall Street Journal): Mr. Stoltenberg, I wondered if you would talk a little bit more about the military mobility and what you want to see out of the EU. Is this about creating standards for roads and bridges so that they can take an American tank, say? How can the EU sort of speed up this sort of movement? And for the High Representative, did you hear what you wanted to hear today from Mr. Tillerson on the Iran nuclear deal? Do you take his comments about fully enforcing the deal as in some way a signal that the US will stand by it?

JENS STOLTENBERG (Secretary General of NATO): Military mobility is about the need to be able to move forces quickly across Europe, so that’s partly about addressing some of the legal hurdles, some of the bureaucratic hurdles we will face when we for instance cross borders but also other regulations, and that’s partly nations and partly the EU as an institution that has to address those legal hurdles. Then, military mobility is about infrastructure, meaning that we need the roads, the bridges, the towns, and harbours, and airports which are able then to receive and then frame or to facilitate the transportation of heavy equipment and supplies.

During the Cold War NATO developed many standards addressing these challenges, but we have to remember that very big parts of Europe were not members of NATO, they were members of the Warsaw Pact, so of course these standards never applied for that part of Europe. And second, NATO countries have not been so very focused on this since the end of the Cold War, so now we have to again look into can we make sure that at least we have some transport corridors where we are able to transport heavy equipment, including equipment from outside Europe, from the United States, Canada, and other non-EU member states.

So this is also about standards and making sure that we have the infrastructure in place that can receive and transport the equipment and the forces we need. And it’s also about making sure that we have the transportation assets. During the Cold War, many of these assets were state-owned, now much of it has been privatized, for instance railroad companies, so therefore we need to engage with the private sector, make sure that we have these assets available if needed: ships, trucks, planes, and other means of transportation.

So there is a wide range of issues that has to be addressed. We have started to work, our staffs have started to address them to identify the gaps, to compare information, and it will be a combination of nations, EU and NATO that has to develop and to solve the challenge we face when it comes to military mobility.

FEDERICA MOGHERINI (Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy): My answer is very short: yes.

MODERATOR: Okay.

FEDERICA MOGHERINI : Then we’ll see the follow-up.

MODERATOR: NPR Deutsche Welle, fourth row, lady in the fourth row.

TERI SCHULTZ (NPR and Deutsche Welle): Hi, thank you, Teri Schultz with NPR and Deutsche Welle. For both of you please, what did you make of the German Foreign minister’s comments coming into this meeting saying that US leadership is crumbling, that the US seems to see Europe as a competitor rather than a partner sometimes and is pursuing policies that might be hurting its allies rather than helping? I’m interested in both of your reactions. Thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG : Well, Minister Sigmar Gabriel also stated very clearly that he doesn’t see European defence as an alternative to NATO. He’s strongly in favour of a strong transatlantic bond, and that’s exactly the message from Federica and from me. This is not about creating something which is going to compete with NATO but this is something that is going to be complementary and to strengthen NATO.

Then I think we have to remember that NATO is an alliance of 29 different nations, democracies, and there are very often different views on different issues, and they are discussed among allies, among friends, and sometimes we see that there are disagreements also about issues related to foreign policy, environment, trade, and many other issues.  But the strength of NATO is that we have been able again and again to prove that despite of these differences we are always able to agree on the core task of NATO, and that is that we are there to protect each other, that our collective defence is the best way to ensure peace, and Article 5, the collective defence clause, that an attack on one ally will trigger a response from the whole alliance. And I know that Sigmar Gabriel is very clear on this, as is all other allies.

Let me also add that we see that the United States is actually increasing their presence in Europe. We have more troops, we have more equipment, we have more US exercises now. After years of decline after the Cold War the US has started to increase their presence and they’re also increasing funding for the European Deterrence Initiative to close to US $5 billion.

So it is more funding from the United States, there are more troops, more equipment, so I think that just underlines that the United States is committed to the transatlantic bond, the United States is not leaving Europe, actually it’s coming back to Europe, also with Canada, and I welcome the leadership of the United States in the alliance, and I met with Secretary Tillerson and he reiterated his ironclad commitment to the alliance – the U.S. ironclad commitment to the alliance. So we are an alliance of 29 democracies, sometimes there are different views, but we agree on the core task that we are there to protect each other.

FEDERICA MOGHERINI : On the European Union side obviously we are in a different position because we are a political union of 28 also democracies and we have with the United States not a relationship of alliance but of partnership and friendship. And this is a common basis that unites us not only for our history but also for the future perspectives of trying to handle together some of the challenges the world is facing and trying to get some of the opportunities the world is offering. And this is still the solid basis of the transatlantic friendship and partnership between the European Union and the United States.

I particularly appreciated the fact that today Secretary Tillerson, before coming here, spent three hours, three good hours I would say, first in a bilateral meeting with me, and then with all the 28 foreign ministers of the member states of the European Union, paying an official visit to the European Union institutions, as President Trump and Vice President Pence already did earlier this year. And this is clearly a sign of recognition of our partnership, not only in the framework of NATO as a military alliance, this is not my business, as European obviously I have a specific interest in that working well, but of the US-EU as such partnership.

We had an excellent meeting today. There are many issues on which we work together and if we were not working together the security situation in large parts of the world would be much worse than the one we’re facing today. If you think of DPRK, if you think of Afghanistan, if you think of Syria, and I could continue, Libya, some crisis in Africa, and again I could continue a long list, counterterrorism, anti-Daesh, Ukraine, and again the list is long, there are many files on which our cooperation is vital and is achieving results.

There are other areas on which the European Union and the United States have different positions on foreign policy, and we’re very open and frank about that, very candid, and today also around the table on the other side of Brussels in the EU institutions, we had a very frank discussion about this, as friends do. Recognizing the different arguments, recognizing the different positions is what allows us to understand each other’s position, respect them, but also trying to avoid mistakes or trying to find a way to cooperate even when positions are different. I don’t think you want a list of issues on which our positions are different. You know them.

One was the nuclear deal with Iran where the European Union and its member states made very clear the fact that for us it’s a strategic priority that matters to our security, a nuclear deal that is working and that has been certified nine times by the IAEA as working, needs to be preserved especially as we’re facing another nuclear proliferation crisis further east, but also for the overall credibility of international negotiations and agreements, and the message was heard I think loud and clear in Washington, and I think that today we are in a better place when it comes to the commitment to stay compliant with the agreement and work together to keep Iran compliant with the agreement, which is our major common work to be done.

We have a difference of views when it comes to multilateralism and in particular the UN system. We are as the European Union the strongest supporters of the UN system and a rules-based global order that includes investment in UN peacekeeping, something we share by the way with another transatlantic partner that is also very much a friend, Canada, but also for us this involves trade and the upcoming WTO ministerial next week in Argentina will also be a test for the way in which we see international relations.

This was evident on the climate change agreement. Well, I was personally saddened, and this was also shared today by other European Union member states ministers, that the United States decided to leave the Global Compact of the United Nations on Migration and Refugees, we believe and we invest in multilateral mechanisms and systems and we wish to do this more and more with the United States. This is the way we take to foreign policy and security policy as well.

There’s another issue we mentioned briefly today, even with the press, of difference of views maybe, let’s see, we in Europe believe that the only perspective for peace and security for Israel and Palestine is the two-state solution, not of idealism but out of experience. We believe this is the only realistic option for both and the for the region, and we are in good company in believing that, and namely the Arab Peace Initiative that we still believe is a useful framework for finding a solution to the crisis, to the conflict, is still a very useful framework, as we believe that any move that could derail the possibility of relaunching talks, for instance moves around Jerusalem, would be detrimental in immediate terms and in the perspective of reopening a diplomatic process in the Middle East.

So we have differences but we have more things on which we work in a cooperative manner, and even on the points on which we have differences we put as a priority the candid, open, frank conversation, not frank and constructive as journalists mean it, but as we mean it, we human beings mean it, meaning positive and looking for common ground and common action to be taken, very respectful and always in a sense of friendship.

MODERATOR: Okay. Pobjeda, from Montenegro.

Q (Pobjeda): Twenty-three of 28 EU member states have recently agreed to sign an agreement about a joint military investment, so did you discuss about that today, and does that represent an alternative to NATO in Europe?

JENS STOLTENBERG : No, but I think Federica can say more about the EU.

FEDERICA MOGHERINI : No. I can say the same. No. You mean the military command?

Q: Yes.

FEDERICA MOGHERINI : Yeah, no, not at all. That was one of the big taboos. It’s simply the fact that the European Union has already ongoing military and civilian missions and operations, we have 16 of them, only in Africa we have more than 10,000 men and women serving under EU flag, and it only makes sense from a military point of view, by the way also from a civilian point of view, to have one command structure. And here in NATO this is perfectly understood, it’s a matter of making the most out of the already existing missions and operations we have, it’s a matter of making them work better with a streamlined chain of command, and this is not at all and will never be a way of creating of shape kind of structure.

It is clear, crystal clear, that we’re not looking at duplications, we’re not looking at ways to turn the European Union into a military alliance, but we are looking at mak e the most out of the instruments we have, including some of our defence instruments. But there’s no competition, only complementarity, and no ambition to turn the European Union into a military alliance. We stay a political union, with some defence instruments that we’re trying to use at their best.

MODERATOR: I’m afraid that’s all we have time for because the ministers’ dinner will start very soon, so thank you very much.

FEDERICA MOGHERINI : Thank you.

JENS STOLTENBERG : Thank you.

 PROGRAMME

VIDEO

  • NATO Secretary General with EUHR Mogherini, 5 DEC 2017, Part 1 of 205 Dec. 2017
  • NATO Secretary General with EUHR Mogherini, 5 DEC 2017, Part 2 of 205 Dec. 2017

Next

 AUDIO

  • 00:00|00:00
    • ENGLISH – Joint Press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the High Representative / Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini

 

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Ireland Complicit in Torture!!!!


EU governments complicit in torture of Libya refugees, Amnesty International says.

“European governments have not just been fully aware of these abuses; by actively supporting the Libyan authorities in stopping sea crossings and containing people in Libya, they are complicit in these crimes.”

 ( Irish Government has ordered the Irish Navy to Join Navies of Britain, France, Italy in Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean. Previously the Irish Navy was simply rescuing refugees from drowning under Operation Pontus but now it is assisting the  coastguard of one of the 3 libyan governments to “intercept” refugees and return them to Torture Camps in Libya-see Médcin Sans Frontiére Inspection Report Below)

Irish Times Report: Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 07:05

European governments stand accused by Amnesty International of being knowingly complicit in the torture and exploitation of thousands of migrants and refugees by the EU-financed Libyan coastguard and officials running the country’s detention camps.

In an attempt to stem the flow of people across the Mediterranean to Europe, the EU is financing a system that routinely acts in collusion with militia groups and people traffickers to “make money from human suffering”, a report from the human rights group claims.

Following the provision of ships, training and funding from the EU and Italy to the Libyan coastguard, the number of arrivals to Italy fell by 67 per cent between July and November compared with the same period in 2016. Deaths at sea have been reduced commensurately.

Yet Amnesty claims the coastguard and those to whom they hand over refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, are often acting in cahoots with criminal gangs and militia.

Agreements between the coastguard and smugglers are signalled by markings on boats that allow specific vessels to pass through Libyan waters without interception, it is claimed. The coastguard has also been known to escort boats out to international waters.

Intercepted

Those are who are intercepted on their way to Europe are sent to camps run by the Libyan general directorate for combating illegal migration (DCIM), where torture for the purposes of extracting money is almost routine, Amnesty reports.

One man from Gambia, who was detained for three months, told Amnesty how he was starved and beaten in a detention centre.

“They beat me with a rubber hose because they want money to release me,” he said. “They call the family while beating [YOU]so the family send money.”

After interviews with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and meetings with Libyan officials and others with knowledge of the abuses, Amnesty claims it now has sufficient evidence to take leaders of EU states to international courts over alleged abuses of human right obligations.

“You will see us in court,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty’s Europe director. “Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants trapped in Libya are at the mercy of the Libyan authorities, militias, armed groups and smugglers often working seamlessly together for financial gain. Tens of thousands are kept indefinitely in overcrowded detention centres where they are subjected to systematic abuse.

“European governments have not just been fully aware of these abuses; by actively supporting the Libyan authorities in stopping sea crossings and containing people in Libya, they are complicit in these crimes.”

Up to 20,000 people are currently held in what the Amnesty report, Libya’s Dark Web of Collusion, says are overcrowded, unsanitary centres, often under the control of militia and criminals.

“For some time there has been concern that the price for stemming migration has been the human rights of those seeking to come to the EU,” the report says.

Crime against humanity

Last month the French president, Emmanuel Macron, described the abuse of migrants as “a crime against humanity” and saidthe EU and the African Union would “launch concrete military and policing action on the ground to dismantle those networks”.

( See Below from Paddy Healy: Libya: When France becomes accomplice to the very crimes it condemns -Médcins Sans Frontiére)

Thierry Allafort-Duverger, General Director of MSF France 

In March, a review by the UK Independent Commission for Aid Impact said the UK role in the capacity-building programme with the Libyan coastguard was “deliver[ING] migrants back to a system that leads to indiscriminate and indefinite detention and denies refugees their right to asylum”.

The UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has described the suffering of migrants in Libyan camps as an “outrage to the conscience of humanity”.

It is claimed by Amnesty that the EU member states “cannot plausibly claim to be unaware of the grave violations being committed by some of the detention officials and coastguard agents with whom they are so assiduously cooperating”.

Brussels stands accused of failing to install the necessary rights protection mechanisms and guarantees from its Libyan counterparts.

The reports says: “The lack of any judicial oversight of the detention process and the near total impunity with which officials operate has facilitated the institutionalisation of torture and other ill-treatment in detention centres.”

Last month Mohamed Alkoni, the Libyan charge d’affaires, said any proven allegationof slavery was “an act of an individual, and not a systematic practice”. – Guardian

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Pro European Militarisation Advocate and opponent of Irish Neutrality, UCD Prof Ben Tonra Agrees on RTE that Integration into Permanent European Structured Military Co-Operation (PESCO) involves a BINDING COMMITTMENT  to increased Military Spending.

Current Irish Military Spending is just below 1 billion Euro per year.

PESCO involves “alignment” with NATO.  The NATO requirement for Military Spending in member states is 2% of GDP. Irish GDP is c. 350 Billion Euro.  2% of this is 7 Billion!!!

THIS INVOLVES IRISH MILITARY SPENDING RISING TO 7 Billion EURO Per Year . THIS will be done at the expense of provision of Housing, Health, Education, Welfare!!!

Prof. Ben Tonra’s research interests and publications are concerned with EU security and defense, Irish foreign policy and International Relations theory. He is the Project Leader of the Irish Institute for International and European Affairs’ policy group on European Security and Defence.

Post-Brexit support from Berlin and Paris will come at a cost-Halligan in Irish Times

As the Franco-German axis reasserts its self, Irish neutrality and corporation tax policies will have to be revisited 

Opinion: Brendan Halligan, is President of the Institute of International and European Affairs. (see full Halligan article further down)

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Fianna Fáil Join Fine Gael to Defeat Amendment  Requiring  Wide Public Debate on Joining Permanent European Structured Military  Cooperation.  Irish Neutrality To Be Undermined and extra Billions to be spent on Armaments at the Expense of Housing, Health, Education Welfare

Press Release

PANA (Peace and Neutrality Alliance) Press Conference in the Central Hotel, Exchequer Street, Dublin 2, on Thursday, December 7th at 11am to highlight implications of Ireland’s growing role in European military cooperation – PESCO

In the midst of the ongoing controversy regarding Brexit and the fate of the Irish border, a very significant move by the Cabinet has gone almost unnoticed. This is the decision to give the go-ahead for Ireland to take part in EU plans for closer cooperation on ‘security and defence’ matters, which the government expects the Dáil to ratify on the basis of limited information and after a disgracefully short debate on Thursday afternoon.

This plan, known as PESCO, is justified under the catch-all excuse of combating the growing threat of terrorism, and comes with the ritual assurance that this poses no threat to our traditional and highly-regarded policy of neutrality.

But this Press Conference will highlight that one of the consequences of our joining PESCO is that we would be asked to increase spending on weapons and military affairs, requiring a leap in defence spending from the currently planned €946 million for 2018 to an estimated €3 billion+ annually by 2020.

The Press Conference, featuring a range of speakers, will explain opposition to this development, demonstrating how it constitutes a further abandonment of our traditional non-aggressive foreign policy.

The single greatest action, it will be argued, that Ireland can take to combat terrorism is to withdraw the facilities of Shannon airport from the US military for use in their wars of aggression, wars which have played a major part in increasing the global terrorist threat in the first place.

Rather than joining military structures which proclaim the efficacy of military ‘solutions’ to  complex political problems, speakers at the Press Conference will show how we should be using the experience of our own history to offer solutions to such problems through dialogue and negotiation.

With the ever-increasing numbers of homeless people on our streets – and unprecedented numbers of refugees seeking safety on European shores, many forced from shattered homes as a result of Western-backed wars and weaponry – the Press conference will emphasise how scandalous it is that the government plans to spend more money on militarism, further destabilising an already impoverished and war-weary world.

The Press Conference will call on Dáil Éireann not to pass the Government’s PESCO motion when it comes before it this week

Further information contact Joe Murray 01 8827563 or Tom Crilly 0872937558

Roger Cole, Chairperson, PANA,
Dalkey Business Centre, 17 Castle Street, Dalkey, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Tel: 00353 (0)1 2351512
E-mail: info@pana.ie           www.pana.ie

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FRANCE TO INVADE LIBYA

Boots on the ground? Macron urges military action in Libya … – YouTube

 3:35

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azVxNDtDVsk

2 days ago – Uploaded by RT

French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for “concrete military and police” action against human trafficking in …

Boots on the ground? Macron urges military action in Libya … – YouTube

 6:34

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LcODcKtfm8

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Irish Neutrality To be Undermined. Government proposes integration into new EU Military Structure(PESCO). Huge increase in Irish Military Spending required at the expense of Housing, Health, Education, Welfare. Meanwhile, France PROPOSES NEW INVASION OF LIBYA

>> PESCO ( Permanent Structured Co-operation)

>> The FG/Independents Government is to propose to the Dail this coming

>> week that Ireland join PESCO. This will mean a new EU Defence budget

>> of at least an initial €1.5 billion a year (up from €590 million), and that each participating EU state including Ireland reach an average of 2% of its GDP to ensure that the EU becomes a global military power.

>> This means by 2020 Ireland will have to increase its military

>> expenditure. According to Phoenix (1/12/17) the Government is seeking, ” a leap in defence spending from the current €946 million in 2018 to something like €3 billion-plus by 2020.”

>> This will clearly mean a major cut in other state expenditures such as in the health, housing and education sectors.

>> For 21 years PANA has sought to advocate the continuation of the long

>> standing policy of neutrality, and opposed out steady integration

>> into the  EU/US/NATO military structures. Joining PESCO is a very major step in that integration.

 At the very least there should be a serious and open civic debate before any Dáil vote takes place and before any decision is made

 We would hope and request that you and your

 Organisation  would consider also calling for such a debate.

Paddy Healy, National Committee, Peace and Neutrality Alliance

>> For more information see: www.pana.ie

>> Roger Cole

>> Chair, Peace & Neutrality Alliance

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Irish Government Has Ordered Irish Navy To Collaborate in Operation Sophia with French and Italian Navies- Refugees are now being Returned to Torture Camps in Libya

Report From Médcins Sans Frontiére ILLUSTRATES HORRORS OF DETENTION CAMPS TO WHICH REFUGEES ARE BEING RETURNED

Libya: When France becomes accomplice to the very crimes it condemns 

Thierry Allafort-Duverger, General Director of MSF France 

Paris, 28 November 2017. Few days ago, our team in Libya gave medical consultations in a detention centre in the Misrata region to a group of 100 or so men and women. They had been taken to the centre after Libyan coastguards intercepted their boat and returned them to land. Although we work in detention centres, we have no idea of what happens to people held in them as patients we give consultations can disappear without a trace from one week to the next. In the summer of 2017, the Libyan coastguard stepped up its interceptions at sea after an overt policy of support was instituted by the European Union and its member states— with France and Italy playing a major role. Libya is more than ever a snare awaiting people hoping to find work in the country or passing through on their way to Europe in search of refuge or a brighter future.

The shocking footage shown by CNN on 14 November 2017 brought to light a situation in Libya long denounced by many associations and international organizations. A lucrative business of abduction, torture and extortion of migrants and refugees reduced to mere commodities is facilitated by repressive migratory policies, as Europe is prepared to do whatever it takes to contain arrivals of migrants. Still, the televised images of slaves being sold shown on the US news channel did prompt some political reaction, as France condemned a “crime against humanity” and demanded an emergency session of the Security Council.

But what to think of those who, like Emmanuel Macron, categorise and condemn what’s happening in Libya while “at the same time” continuing to support Libya’s coastguard and fund other measures aiming at keeping people in the very hell they are doing their utmost to escape? This is a whole new level of hypocrisy! Who can still dare to pretend that men, women and children, disembarked from intercepted boats and returned to Libya, are accommodated in comfortable, freshly painted centres refurbished to “international standards”, thanks to the generosity of the European taxpayer? Once back on land, there can be no doubt that they are thrown straight back into extreme violence and depravation against the background of blurred boundaries between the authorities and trafficker networks reported for years by numerous observers.

The insecurity and restrictions on access make us only too aware of the limits of what we can hope to achieve in Libya’s detention centres. Our doctors, who do not have unimpeded access to detainees, are not free to decide who to examine or to treat, with some kept hidden away to prevent our teams from assisting them. Pretending that money is all that’s needed to improve conditions in Libyan detention centres is a fallacy. Much like diplomatic representations and other United Nations agencies, the IOM and UNHCR have only a limited presence in Libya.

 

To what extent does MSF’s presence serve to cast a veneer of humanity over a brutal system? This is a dilemma, which, in spite of everything, we endeavour to overcome by constantly weighing up our capacity to provide vital assistance to people in distress, to reach out to them to raise awareness to the violence and inhumanity of their situation, given the increasingly life-threatening solutions instituted to contain migratory flows.

 

There is no one easy solution, but expressing outrage at the crimes committed against migrants in Libya while pursuing an overt policy of return and keeping as many of them as possible on the other side of the Mediterranean is, at the very least, shameful. The incompatibility between these two attitudes is no figment of MSF’s imagination: in October 2017, the number of migrants held in official detention centres tripled, according to estimates provided by the IMO and the Department of Combating Illegal Migration, the Libyan agency that runs them. UN human rights observers were shocked by what they saw in detention centres in Tripoli during their mission at the beginning of November. They saw thousands of emaciated and traumatised people piled on top of each other, locked up in hangars, subjected to extreme types of violence and abuse. On 14 November 2017, Mr Zeid Raad Al Hussein, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, declared that since the European Union stepped up its interventions to stem migration, monitoring has shown a deterioration in already deplorable conditions of detention of migrants and refugees in Libya.

 

What is Mr Macron hoping to achieve with concrete military and policing action in Libya to dismantle smuggling networks?  Another foreign military intervention will most definitely serve only to fuel the dynamics of the conflict in Libya, where no authority can make claim to holding a legitimate monopoly on violence. Fighting against smugglers without providing safe and legal ways to move and flee is a dead-end. Beyond the token gestures, what is urgently required is a shift that translates into actions in France and its European partners’ migratory policy in Libya. Actions, however small, must be facilitated not only to help alleviate the suffering of those subjected to a living nightmare in Libya but, even more importantly, to put an immediate end to policies that simply add to their misery.

Thus, once again, we urge the European Union and its member states—and more particularly France and Italy which have a key role—to facilitate sea search and rescue operations and cease their support to Libyan coastguards with intercepting and returning migrants and refugees attempting to flee Libya, a country, let us not forget, that is not even a signatory to the Geneva Convention on the status of refugees. Failing this, France will descend still further into complicity with the very crimes it condemns.

France has taken a constructive initiative with the first mission operated by OFPRA (French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons) in Niger. This will enable a group of refugees to be granted asylum in France without having to undergo perilous journeys – or after surviving it in the case of the 25 survivors evacuated from Tripoli to Niamey by the UNHCR that will be part of it. Nobody knows yet how many will benefit from these initiatives, but it will be no more than a drop in the ocean—as is, as already pointed out, what MSF is managing to achieve. Furthermore, what is to be the fate of all those who have suffered the unmentionable but are not eligible for refugee status?

All these people who find themselves trapped in the Libyan snare, set in part by France and the European Union, must be afforded all possible means of escape. This includes the full application of the right of asylum for anyone eligible, increasing offers of voluntary return to countries of origin for genuine candidates and implementing supplementary forms of  protection, in neighbouring countries, in Europe (and this includes France) to meet the needs of survivors of a hell on earth.

Working in Libya since 2011, Médecins sans frontières has been providing assistance and medical care to refugees and migrants in detention centres located in Tripoli and Misrata areas for over a year.


UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS Reinforces SHOCKING REPORT  of Médcins San Frontiére

ReliefWeb is the leading humanitarian information source on global crises and disasters. It is a specialized digital service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

EU Migration Cooperation with Libya

Armed conflicts since 2014 in Libya have resulted in a humanitarian and governance crisis, with a quarter million Libyans displaced and a breakdown in the economic, political, and judicial systems. The country has three rival authorities competing for legitimacy, international recognition, and territorial control: a UN-backed and EU-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli; the Government of National Salvation, also based in Tripoli; and the Interim Government, based in the eastern cities of al-Bayda and Tobruk. The GNA has limited control over key institutions and only nominal control over forces aligned with them.

The evidence of brutality against migrants in Libya is overwhelming. A damning December 2016 report from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN mission in Libya documented widespread malnutrition, forced labor, illness, beatings, sexual abuse, torture, and other abuses in immigration detention centers in Libya. A German Foreign Ministry memo leaked to the media in January 2017 stated that migrants in Libya are executed, tortured, raped, extorted, and banished to the desert “on a daily basis.” Human Rights Watch has documented abuses against migrants in Libya for years, including by guards in detention centers under the Directorate for Illegal Migration (DCIM), Libyan coast guard forces, and smugglers.

The GNA Interior Ministry operates about 24 “official” detention facilities for migrants in western Libya that are at least nominally under ministry control. Militias and criminal gangs detain migrants in parallel, unofficial centers.

The EU’s anti-smuggling operation EUNAVFOR MED – also known as Operation Sophia – began training Libyan Navy coast guard officers, petty officers, and seamen under the GNA’s Defense Ministry in October 2016. Ninety-three officers participated in training aboard EU navy ships in the Mediterranean, while 42 have been trained in Malta and Greece in training programs on land that will continue in Spain and Italy through the end of 2017. The planned third phase, which has not begun, would involve training on board Libyan patrol boats in Libyan territorial waters. In the February 2017 Malta Declaration, EU countries pledged to prioritize “training, equipment and support” to the Libyan coast guard forces, as well as “enhanced operational action” to shut down the central Mediterranean route. Also in February, Italy signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the GNA, which was suspended by a court in Tripoli in March, and began in May to deliver the first 4 of 10 patrol boats to Libyan coast guard forces.

Since at least October 2013, Italy has coordinated virtually all rescue operations by the Italian coast guard and Navy; the EU border agency, commonly known as Frontex; Operation Sophia; and vessels from nongovernmental groups, as well as commercial ships when necessary. Nine groups – Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), SOS MEDITERRANEE, Sea-Watch, Jugend Rettet, Sea Eye, Life Boat Minden, Proactiva Open Arms, and Save The Children – have dedicated rescue patrols in the central Mediterranean. According to Italian government figures, nongovernmental groups rescued one-quarter of all those rescued in 2016, and one-third of those rescued in the first three months of 2017.

Just as the Libyan government is fragmented, so too are Libyan coast guard forces. The EU support is directed to Navy coast guard forces in western Libya, which operate at least nominally under the GNA Defense Ministry. The commander of the coast guard forces in Zawiyah told Human Rights Watch during the April visit that the GNA coast guard chief had only nominal control over forces in different points in western Libya – including in the towns and cities of Misrata, Tripoli, Zawiyah, Sebratha, and Zuwara.

The GNA Interior Ministry also has its own Coastal Security forces. Col. Tariq Shanbour, head of the Interior Ministry’s Coastal Security forces and based in Tripoli, told Human Rights Watch during its visit that although his forces had no rescue boats, their mandate extended from operations on land and through the Libyan territorial waters, up to 12 nautical miles. Colonel Shanbour said his forces combat crime, including irregular migration, fuel smuggling, illegal fishing, and drug trafficking.

In April, the European Commission announced a €90 million aid program for migrants in Libya, about half of which would go to improving conditions in official detention centers, assistance at disembarkation points, and voluntary returns, among other measures.

The May 23 Incident
Human Rights Watch’s understanding of what happened on May 23 is based on a detailed incident report provided by MSF; phone interviews with an MSF crew member and a crew member from the German group Jugend Rettet, who witnessed the incident; and public statements by other groups on the scene. All times for both incidents are in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is two hours behind Central European Time (CET).

On May 23, a Libyan coast guard patrol boat intervened in a rescue operation already in progress in international waters by the Aquarius, a rescue ship jointly operated by MSF and SOS Mediterranée, and the Iuventa, a vessel operated by Jugend Rettet.

After an EUNAVFOR MED plane spotted 8 to 10 migrant boats at 06:50, the Italian MRCC in Rome appointed the Vos Hestia, a rescue vessel operated by Save The Children, as on-scene commander.

By 08:30 the Aquarius had reached the area, 15 nautical miles from the Libyan coast in international waters, and began its rescue operation. By noon, its crew had distributed life jackets to people on board a white rubber boat and evacuated 34 people before having to order its speedboats to attend to another boat in a more serious distress situation. At 10:30, a Libyan coast guard patrol boat with the number 267 entered the rescue area and approached several of the migrant boats, creating destabilizing waves.

A Jugend Rettet crew member, who was on a RHIB – a rigid-hulled inflatable boat – distributing life jackets at the time, said the patrol boat approached them at one point: “We have standing orders to be cooperative, and we thought they might want to help. We waved, they waved back, even gave us the thumbs up. We thought everything was ok.”

The Libyan patrol boat retreated to a distance. Crew aboard the Aquarius heard at least six shots fired into the air from machine guns mounted on the Libyan patrol boat. The Libyan patrol boat then steered back toward the migrant boats, and at around 13:00, two men on the Libyan patrol boat, one of whom was in uniform and armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, boarded one of the migrant boats, a white rubber boat, and began steering it toward Libyan territorial waters.

photograph posted by Jugend Rettet shows one of the Libyan coast guard members pointing the assault rifle at the people on board, and footage from an Italian television crew aboard the Aquarius shows the same man firing two or three shots into the air. The footage also shows dozens of panicked people jumping into the water.

Testimony gathered by MSF from survivors would later allege that the Libyan officers had taken their phones and money, even a man’s ring. As the Libyan officers steered the white rubber boat back toward Libya, more people jumped into the water. The Aquarius crew eventually pulled 67 people from the water. At 13:40, the Libyan officers changed course and steered the rubber boat toward the Aquarius, and at 14:00, they said they wanted to hand over the people on board. By 14:17, all 38 people who had remained on the white rubber boat had been transferred to the Aquarius RHIB.

While two of its crew had boarded the rubber boat, the Libyan patrol boat had remained alongside a wooden boat crowded with migrants, which it would eventually steer back to Libya, and transferred dozens from a second wooden boat to the patrol boat. Nongovernmental groups estimate that between 200 and 400 people were taken back to Libya. Their vessels rescued 11 migrant boats.

MSF collected testimony from two men, one who said he was Libyan and another who said he was Syrian, who were pulled out of the water after they jumped off the wooden boat. The men alleged that coast guard officers also took money and phones from passengers on the wooden boat.

Corroborating testimony collected by MSF among survivors on their rescue ship suggests that the Libyan coast guard forces fired more shots than logged by the nongovernmental vessels in the area. Most worrisome, six people who had jumped into the water from the rubber boat and two men who jumped from the wooden boat alleged that Libyan officers had fired shots into the water after people jumped. No corpses were found, nor did anyone rescued have fresh gunshot wounds.

A Libyan Navy spokesman, Admiral Ayyoub Amr Qassem, denied some aspects of the nongovernmental groups’ version of events, arguing it was “illogical” for the Libyan coast guard to shoot at migrants.

The May 10 Incident
The Human Rights Watch understanding of the event is based on the Sea-Watch ship’s log, a phone interview with a Sea-Watch crew member who witnessed the incident, email communications between the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) provided by Sea-Watch, and statements by the Italian MRCC and the Libyan Navy coast guard.

On May 10, the Italian MRCC in Rome allowed a Libyan coast guard vessel to assume coordination over a rescue operation in international waters. Sea-Watch, which had already begun its rescue operation on previous instructions from MRCC Rome, filmed the Libyan patrol boat conducting a dangerous maneuver, creating a risk of collision, and has called for an independent investigation.

At 05:38 UTC, MRCC Rome called the German Sea-Watch 2 ship to inform it of a migrant boat at position 33° 00’N, 012° 27’E, which is within Libyan territorial waters. The coordination center followed up with an email stamped 05:42 instructing Sea-Watch to “please divert your course…and provide assistance” to the migrant boat.

At 06:25, when the Sea-Watch ship sighted the migrant boat – a severely crowded wooden boat carrying almost 500 people – they were at position 33° 08.9’N, 012° 28.9’E. This is approximately 20 nautical miles from the Libyan coast, in international waters.

MRCC Rome called the Sea-Watch ship at 06:47 asking it to “confirm target boat,” and sent an email 11 minutes later, at 06:58, with a photo of the boat time-stamped 05:01. Sea-Watch initiated its rescue operation, lowering a speedboat loaded with life jackets to approach the migrant boat. But at 06:56, MRCC Rome called Sea-Watch to tell them that Libya was taking over coordination of the rescue operation, and sent an email indicating that, “Following our previous phone call, we confirm that at ‘06:13Z’ [the Z indicates UTC time zone], the Libyan Coast Guard informed us that it is coordinating the SAR case in subject and that a Libyan patrol vessel, as reported by Libyan Coast Guard, is operating.”

The Sea-Watch log indicates that its speedboat was in the water at 06:59. The boat approached the migrant boat, and the ship’s log indicates that it made contact at 07:04. During this time lapse, Sea-Watch attempted repeatedly to reach the Libyan patrol boat, which the crew could see approaching at a fast clip, by radio on numerous frequencies; they received no response. Sea-Watch told Human Rights Watch that, “Of course we would proceed with [the speedboat operation], as we thought also with a coordination through the Libyans, the speedboats would be needed in the water at least on standby to guarantee a safe disembarkation.”

The Sea-Watch ship’s log reports at 07:04, as the speedboat was engaging in shouted conversation with migrants aboard the wooden boat, the Libyan patrol boat 206 crossed their bow, in what Sea-Watch said was a dangerous maneuver. Sea-Watch reports that the Libyan patrol boat did not respond to radio calls from the German ship. The Sea-Watch speedboat returned to the group’s larger vessel, and the Libyan coast guard boat proceeded to transfer several hundred people from the wooden boat to their own boat. At least two officers boarded the wooden boat, with numerous people still on board, to steer it back to land. No one was provided life jackets, putting them at risk.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, 484 people disembarked in Tripoli, including 14 women and 19 children. The rest were adult men. Four women were hospitalized – it is unclear why – while the rest were detained at the Mitiga airbase in Tripoli.

The Libyan Navy spokesman, Admiral Qassem, alleged that Sea-Watch “tried to hinder the work of our coast guard to take the migrants.” The GNA’s Libyan coast guard did not respond to email queries and phone calls. In an email to Human Rights Watch, the Italian coast guard said that “MRCC Rome, as the first Maritime Rescue Coordination center that received the information, according to SAR international procedures, informed the Coastal state’s SAR authorities in whose territorial waters was the boat in distress and contacted the nearest known ship, M/V SEA WATCH 2… later, MRCC Rome informed M/V SEA WATCH 2 that the Libyan Coast Guard had assumed the coordination of the SAR case.”

 

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Ireland Must Resist New Pressures To Give Up Military Neutrality

Recovery of All-Ireland Sovereignty of Irish People More Vital than  Ever Now!

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Could Saudi-British Agression In Yemen Using Cluster Bombs To Massacre Civilians Lead to NUCLEAR WAR!!!

Yemen’s Houthi’s Retaliate By Firing Ballistic Missile into Saudi Arabia. What if it had been armed with a NUCLEAR WAR HEAD? Guardian Saturday 4 November 2017

A Saudi-led coalition had intervened in 2015 to prop up Hadi’s government after the Shia Houthi rebels seized the capital of Yemen, Sana’a. The rebels continue to hold much of the country.

British cluster bombs used in Yemen by Saudi Arabia

It is understood the British government’s own investigations back up media reports that such cluster bombs have been deployed in the war, in which Britain is helping to train Saudi forces. A source told the Guardian that Minister Fallon is among the ministers to have known about the analysis for about a month. Guardianon Sunday 18 December 2016 20.33 GMT

Saudi Arabia intercepts ‘missile’ fired from Yemen

State-owned media reports missile was brought down north of King Khaled airport near Riyadh

Houthi fighters in Yemen claim to have fired the missile into Saudi territory.

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Is Irish Navy Co-Operating with Return of Migrants to Hell On Earth in Libya?

The UN accused the EU last week of turning a “blind eye” to the brutality faced by migrants held in Libya and called for urgent action to help them.-RTE News

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INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AND EUROPEAN AFFAIRS (IIEA)-Funded By Huge Irish and International Business Interests and by the EU Commission Calls For End To Irish Military Neutrality Through President Brendan Halligan

IIEA WEBSITE

The IIEA wishes to thank Google for their ongoing support through Google Grants.

The Institute also wishes to acknowledge the support it has received from the European Commission. 

The IIEA is funded primarily by Membership Subscriptions.

Our Foundation Members who contribute greatly to the ongoing support of the Institute are listed below:

MetLife Insurance(HQ NEW YORK),Accenture(Leading International Business Consultancy) ,Bank of Ireland, BNP Paribas, Ulster Bank, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, Pioneer Investments, Irish Business and Employers Confederation(IBEC), Irish Farmers Association,  Bord na Móna, Central Bank Of Ireland,  Dublin Airport Authority,  Devenish, Digicel, Enterprise Ireland, Google, ESB, The Farmers Journal, Matheson1, Mainstream Renewable Power,  National Treasury Management Agency,
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IIEA

Patron: Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland

President: Brendan Halligan

Chairperson: Ruairí Quinn

Director General: Barry Andrews

Board of Directors: Conor Brady, Brendan Butler, John Bruton, Brian Cowen, Pat Cox, Marie Cross, Catherine Day, David Gunning, Patrick Honohan, John Hume, Kevin Keary, Peter McLoone, Terry Neill, Terence O’Rourke, Ruairí Quinn, John Redmond, Frances Ruane.

Post-Brexit support from Berlin and Paris will come at a cost-Halligan in Irish Times

As the Franco-German axis reasserts its self, Irish neutrality and corporation tax policies will have to be revisited 

Opinion: Brendan Halligan, is President of the Institute of International and European Affairs. He was general secretary of the Labour Party and a member of the Oireachtas and European Parliament. This article is based on an address to the MacGill summer school.

Irish Times: Thursday, July 27, 2017, 17:28

Put simply, the European Union is a Franco-German project initiated by the Schuman Declaration of 1951. Together they are building a European home and while others may join in, they have to observe the house rules.

In these circumstances, the best strategy for Ireland is to be at the centre by adopting their agenda and adapting it to our own needs. And in view of Brexit, Ireland will need to be at the centre to get maximum advantage from our membership. It not an easy proposition .

Ireland volunteered to join the EEC in 1961 and gave certain commitments that now need to be revived. The then Taoiseach, Seán Lemass, fearing that Ireland would otherwise be isolated, virtually broke down the doors in Brussels to get into the community. Our application was opposed on many grounds, of which non-membership of Nato was the biggest. Lemass took this head-on and asserted that Ireland agreed with the objectives of Nato, was not neutral in the conflict between democracy and communism and implied that, if admitted as a member, would be prepared to join in the common defence of the EEC.

But defence remains a legacy issue because that commitment got lost after Lemass’s retirement, and is now forgotten. Discussion is off-limits and neutrality has become more a matter of theology than international politics. We have failed to update what it means in practice, as the Finns and Swedes have done.

But we won’t be able to do that for much longer because the Franco-German alliance has undergone a renaissance with the arrival of President Macron and with the imminent re-election of Mrs Merkel. European defence is back on the agenda, not least because of the US retreat from global affairs and the re-emergence of a truculent Russia.

The Franco-German conclusion is that we Europeans had better look after our own defence. As a result, this is one of those moments when Europe redefines itself and enlarges its core activities. We are unprepared for this development and failure to join in common defence, as Lemass had promised, may be our undoing.

The other legacy issue is corporate tax harmonisation. What originally started as a sensible policy for stimulating exports was then transformed into a sophisticated strategy for encouraging foreign direct investment. But it was never intended to become a mechanism for reducing the tax liabilities of international business and Ireland did not set out to become a tax haven, but that’s how we are now perceived.

The challenge here is that the taxation agenda is also quickening. Mrs Merkel has put the financial transaction tax into her government programme and President Macron has raised French concerns over what the OECD calls profit shifting. Then there are Commission proposals on a common consolidated tax base. Unless our stance on taxation is adapted to this complex agenda, then it too will be an obstacle to being part of the core.

That brings us to the strategic necessity for aligning our security and taxation policies with the new Franco-German agenda. It’s purely economic. The disruption from Brexit will be far greater here than in any other EU state. It constitutes an asymmetric shock that will necessitate a long period of adjustment similar to that which we experienced in the first decade of EEC membership.

We will inevitably be looking for assistance in building a new economic model while absorbing the shock of Brexit. To succeed at both we will need something analogous to the cohesion funds that eased our way into monetary union as well as special measures to offset the loss of competitiveness in the UK market, a consequence of the inexorable decline in the value of sterling.

This will be a tough case to make given the competing needs of the less well off member states. But it will have to be made and will be best done by invoking the principle of solidarity. Common sense dictates, however, that to win solidarity we must show solidarity and that means playing a full part at the centre of the Union. It’s a question of realpolitik, not sentiment.

In sum, playing a full part at the centre of the Union means playing a full part in the future common defence and security policies, playing a full part in creating a fiscal union involving corporate tax harmonisation, playing a full part in the Franco-German re-launch of Europe and finally cutting the umbilical cord with Britain and accepting the full consequences of the hard Brexit being brewed up by the Tories.

These are not easy choices. They go against the grain of custom and practice. But they will have to be made.

© 2017 irishtimes.com

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Government and Fianna Fáil have Ordered The Irish Navy To Participate in This Anti-Human Operation!!

Luxembourg Foreign Minister, UNICEF, Medcin Sans Frontiere, Warn Against Return of Migrants To Libyan Concentration Camps

RTE Report and Interview with Luxembourg Foreign Minister

RTE RADIO News At One  17/07/2017

http://rte.ie/r.html?rii=b9_10749567_135_17-07-2017_

Text of RTE Report

Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn has warned that  EU funds could be leading to migrants being housed in what he called concentration camps in Libya. Mr Asselborn said it was right to spend EU  money  training Libyan coastguards to save migrants, who are trying to reach Europe, from drowning. However, he said, this must not lead to those rescued being taken back to lawless camps in Libya.

Clip of interview with Mr Asselborn, Translated into English: “These camps are in part concentration camps-camps where people are raped, where there is no Law. We can only manage this crisis if we work much closer together and dig much deeper into our pockets to help the UN. Otherwise it means something totally inhumane is happening in Europe’s name”

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 Irish Times,Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 11:16

Women and children raped and starved in Libyan ‘hellholes’ – Unicef

Irish Times,Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 11:16

Women and children making the dangerous journey to Europe to flee poverty and conflicts in Africa are being beaten, raped and starved in “living hellholes” in Libya, the United Nations children’s agency (Unicef) said on Tuesday

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Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Website

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has run mobile clinics in seven detention centres located in Tripoli and the surrounding area since July 2016. The centres are under the administration of the Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM).

MSF provides medical care to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who are arbitrarily detained there. The conditions MSF treats include skin disease, diarrhoeal disease, respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and acute malnutrition. They are the direct result of the appalling conditions in the detention centres. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, more than 4,000 medical consultations were carried out.

On 3 February 2017, European Union leaders met in Malta to discuss migration, with a view to closing the route from Libya to Italy by stepping up cooperation with the Libyan authorities. MSF expressed its concerns about the fate of people trapped in Libya or returned to the country.

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FIANNA FAIL AND GOVERNMENT, UNDERMINE IRISH NEUTRALITY

Seamus Healy TD Condemns New Alliance with British and French Navies To Push Refugees Back to “Hell on Earth” in Libyan Detention Camps

“The flight of desperate refugees across the Mediterranean from Libya and the rest of north Africa is reminiscent of the Famine. During its ten years from 1845 to 1855, 2.1 million desperate Irish people fled across the high seas in the hope of finding a better life abroad. Imagine if those 2.1 million people had been stopped and forced to return to Ireland. That is what Operation Sophia is now doing in the Mediterranean.”

Independent Alliance, Including John Halligan, Finian McGrath, Sean Canney and Shane Ross Vote With FF-FG

Full Dáil Vote-further down

Full Dáil Speech of Seamus Healy TD

Deputy Seamus Healy: “The Naval Service is participating in Operation Pontus as part of a bilateral agreement with the Italian Government. Operation Pontus is a purely humanitarian mission rescuing migrants at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean. To date, the Naval Service has saved approximately 16,800 migrants.

The Government’s proposal to participate in Operation Sophia, which is supported by only eight of the 27 European Union member states, is an attempt to abuse the legitimate concerns of the public about the continuing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean and drag this country into a military role. I agree with the Peace and Neutrality Alliance that involvement in Operation Sophia would be a further breach of neutrality.

The country’s neutrality has already been breached by allowing the US military’s use of Shannon Airport.

We are repeatedly told that the integration of the Naval Service’s operation in the Mediterranean into Operation Sophia will be an extension of the former’s excellent humanitarian mission and reputation. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the priority of the current Operation Pontus is rescue, the priority of Operation Sophia is to force refugees back into the claws of the Tripoli Government. Under Operation Sophia, refugee boats are being confined to Libyan coastal waters by military force where they can be recaptured and returned to Tripoli.

The flight of desperate refugees across the Mediterranean from Libya and the rest of north Africa is reminiscent of the Famine. During its ten years from 1845 to 1855, 2.1 million desperate Irish people fled across the high seas in the hope of finding a better life abroad. Imagine if those 2.1 million people had been stopped and forced to return to Ireland. That is what Operation Sophia is now doing in the Mediterranean.

Libya has been in chaos since military aggression, including bombing by Britain and France, overthrew the Gaddafi regime. There are now three unelected Libyan governments involved in a civil war. This British and French-created chaos has given free rein to traffickers and smugglers preying on people attempting to escape. Integration into Operation Sophia involves allying Ireland with the navies of Britain and France and one of the three warring governments in Libya.

Refugees International speaks of the ongoing violence and chaos in Libya, a country that lacks an asylum system and where the rule of law is absent. Libyan refugees are being confined to hell-on-Earth detention centres. Non-Libyan refugees, of which there are many, are being placed in transit camps prior to repatriation to the countries from which they fled. There is no right of asylum in Tripoli.

If the transfer to Operation Sophia goes ahead, it will be used in future as a precedent to justify the further erosion of Irish neutrality. The excellent reputation of our soldiers and sailors abroad will be sullied by association with human rights abusers. Above all, the Irish people will be made complicit in the vicious oppression of deprived peoples. Tá mé go láidir i gcoinne an rún seo.

 

Question put: “That the motion be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 80; Níl, 38; Staon(abstain), 0. (Ceann Comhairle 1, DID NOT Vote 39,-PH)

Níl    Staon
    Aylward, Bobby.     Boyd Barrett, Richard.
    Bailey, Maria.     Brady, John.
    Barrett, Seán.     Broughan, Thomas P.
    Brassil, John.     Buckley, Pat.
    Breathnach, Declan.     Collins, Joan.
    Breen, Pat.     Collins, Michael.
    Brophy, Colm.     Connolly, Catherine.
    Browne, James.     Crowe, Seán.
    Bruton, Richard.     Daly, Clare.
    Burke, Peter.     Doherty, Pearse.
    Butler, Mary.     Ellis, Dessie.
    Byrne, Catherine.     Funchion, Kathleen.
    Byrne, Thomas.     Healy, Seamus.
    Cahill, Jackie.     Howlin, Brendan.
    Calleary, Dara.     Kenny, Gino.
    Canney, Seán.     McGrath, Mattie.
    Carey, Joe.     Martin, Catherine.
    Casey, Pat.     Mitchell, Denise.
    Cassells, Shane.     Munster, Imelda.
    Chambers, Jack.     Murphy, Catherine.
    Chambers, Lisa.     Murphy, Paul.
    Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.     Nolan, Carol.
    Cowen, Barry.     Ó Broin, Eoin.
    D’Arcy, Michael.     Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
    Daly, Jim.     Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
    Deasy, John.     Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
    Deering, Pat.     O’Reilly, Louise.
    Doherty, Regina.     O’Sullivan, Jan.
    Donnelly, Stephen S.     O’Sullivan, Maureen.
    Dooley, Timmy.     Penrose, Willie.
    Doyle, Andrew.     Quinlivan, Maurice.
    Durkan, Bernard J.     Ryan, Brendan.
    English, Damien.     Ryan, Eamon.
    Farrell, Alan.     Sherlock, Sean.
    Fitzgerald, Frances.     Shortall, Róisín.
    Fitzpatrick, Peter.     Smith, Bríd.
    Flanagan, Charles.     Stanley, Brian.
    Halligan, John.     Tóibín, Peadar.
    Harris, Simon.
    Harty, Michael.
    Haughey, Seán.
    Heydon, Martin.
    Kehoe, Paul.
    Lahart, John.
    McConalogue, Charlie.
    McEntee, Helen.
    McGrath, Finian.
    McGrath, Michael.
    McGuinness, John.
    McHugh, Joe.
    McLoughlin, Tony.
    Madigan, Josepha.
    Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
    Moynihan, Aindrias.
    Murphy O’Mahony, Margaret.
    Murphy, Dara.
    Murphy, Eoghan.
    Murphy, Eugene.
    Naughten, Denis.
    Naughton, Hildegarde.
    Neville, Tom.
    Ó Cuív, Éamon.
    O’Brien, Darragh.
    O’Connell, Kate.
    O’Dea, Willie.
    O’Donovan, Patrick.
    O’Dowd, Fergus.
    O’Keeffe, Kevin.
    O’Loughlin, Fiona.
    O’Rourke, Frank.
    Rabbitte, Anne.
    Ring, Michael.
    Rock, Noel.
    Ross, Shane.
    Scanlon, Eamon.
    Smith, Brendan.
    Smyth, Niamh.
    Stanton, David.
    Troy, Robert.
    Zappone, Katherine.

 

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Joe McHugh and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Louise O’Reilly.

Question declared carried.

—————————————————

Government Proposes That Irish Navy Join British Navy In Handing Over Refugees to Be Jailed by Puppet Libyan Government-One of 3 Libyan Governments Fighting Civil War

Recent Manchester Bombing Related To UK Military Intervention in Libya

Government Proposal Endangers Irish People

 

Government Proposal To Transfer Irish Navy Operations in Mediteranean from “Pontus” to “Sophia”

Differing  practice on Handing over of Refugees is being omitted from all media coverage

Operation Pontus—Ireland, Italy only-refugees handed over to Italian Navy

Operation Sophia—25 EU states including UK , France by Agreement With Tripoli Government-Refugees returned to Tripoli Government and likely Jail  (“Hell on Earth”-Refugees International)

There are at least 3 governments in Libya and a raging civil war—Tripoli Government recognised by EU

UK and France bombed Libya to overthrow Gadafi-Now Chaos Reigns in Libya

 

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/time-to-join-eu-humanitarian-sea-mission-1.3097974

 

Sophia

Libyan Refugees being Returned From International Waters to Jail in Libya -“Hell on Earth”

Civil War in Progress-At least 3 states in existence –Tripoli Government Recognised by EU, UN?

EU helping force refugees back to ‘hell on Earth’ in push to stop boat crossings from Libya, report finds

Researchers say EU is disregarding international law and human rights

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/eu-refugee-boats-stop-migrant-crisis-libya-drowning-mediterranean-report-refugees-international-a7766531.html

Research by the US-based Refugees International (RI) group warned that the EU’s push to prevent boats leaving the Libyan coast – now the main departure point towards Europe – could fuel horrific abuses.

READ MORE

“The fate of people who are seeking international protection is effectively absent from the plans outlined by EU leaders to tackle the Central Mediterranean route,” its report concluded.

“With the ongoing violence and chaos in Libya, a country that lacks an asylum system and where the rule of law is absent, EU countries must accept people on their territory through orderly, legal processes that are viable alternatives to ruthless criminal networks.

“The EU and its member states should also ensure that their funding and actions in Libya do not result in or contribute to human rights abuses against refugees and migrants.”

————————————————————————————————————-

 STATEMENT FROM PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT ON GOVERNMENT DECISION TO SIGN UP TO MORE AGGRESSIVE POLICY ON REFUGEE CRISIS

The Government should not be allowed to abuse the legitimate concerns of the Irish public about the continuing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean to drag the country into the EU’s increasingly militarised response to that crisis.

Ireland has to date only participated in rescue operations in the Mediterranean as part of a bilateral deal with the Italian government.

The Government will decide today (11th July) whether to join the European Union’s Operation Sophia.

The government hopes to put the plan to the Dail on Wednesday morning.

It represents a change in policy for Ireland, after Defence Minister Paul Kehoe told the Dail in December that there was no intention to join the eight-EU-member-state-strong naval operation.

The Irish navy’s work in the Mediterranean has so far been limited to participating in rescue missions, within the mandate of Operation Pontus.

Over the course of two years, Irish forces have saved almost 16,000 migrants, many of whom had tried to make the often-lethal sea voyage in basic inflatable dinghies and unseaworthy craft.

Operation Sophia is currently in phase 2. This involves stopping and searching vessels suspected of being involved in people smuggling. Only eight EU members are participating.

But the eight EU members the Government hopes to join do not intend to stop there.

Sophia makes provision for a Phase 3 which would involve an even more aggressive stance and could include possible action on Libyan soil itself!

Will the Government acknowledge this to the Dail?

As in all these matters an abject policy surrender is motivated by a craven desire to please our EU “betters”. Who will call, “Halt”?

—————————————————————————————–

The militarisation of Europe is a far greater threat than Brexit -Prof Ray Kinsella

Irish Independent PUBLISHED11/07/2016 | 02:30The most searching challenge that the EU faces is not the fallout from Brexit – it’s from the militarisation of Europe and the US-led Nato encirclement of Russia, endorsed by the Nato Summit in Warsaw last weekend. 

It is as misconceived as austerity and authoritarianism, which are at the heart of the European crisis. But it is infinitely more dangerous. If the Chilcot Report on the war in Iraq proves anything, it is that the momentum towards armed conflict, once started, becomes difficult to contain.

Militarisation will make it much more difficult to deal with the EU’s migration crisis, itself largely a consequence of the catastrophic effects of Western military intervention. A conflagration between US-led Nato and Russia would increase the numbers of refugees in Europe by an order of magnitude. As for the impact of such a conflagration on the European and global economy – well, all bets are off. We could not begin to model the impact – but we can look at post-war Europe and Iraq and Syria and Libya… Only what are euphemistically termed ‘Defence’ industries do (exceedingly) well out of war.

In April, I suggested in these pages that Europe was in denial. It was mired in an identity crisis largely brought on by itself – a crisis of values, democracy – as well as macroeconomic instability marked by inequality, youth unemployment and long-term indebtedness among peripheral countries. There was no trust in Europe. “The governance of the eurozone is characterised by self-interest, subservience among weaker indebted members and, also, tenacity beyond all reason, in persisting with failed policies.”

In June, prior to the Brexit Referendum, I pointed out that “while it was not the job of UK voters to resolve this mess – Brexit can force these same Euro elite to see reality. The EU is incapable of understanding that the dissenting voices across Europe – which they like to dismiss as ‘populism’ – are not the problem: the real issue is the underlying causes that have precipitated opposition to what the EU has become.”

This perspective was vindicated by the EU’s initial response to Brexit – denial, anger and a blame game.

Then, more positively, the first stirrings of a change in attitude by the EU ‘Top Table’ – notably Dr Wolfgang Schäuble – including a decision not to respond to Brexit by pressing ahead with ‘union’ and not to overly pressurise the UK in implementing Article 50.

Militarism threatens this. The process of rebalancing and reform, including greater democratisation across the EU, is now in jeopardy from the increased militarisation of the EU over the last two years, which is set to increase in the wake of the Warsaw summit. It is an appalling prospect.

Why do ‘leaders’ never see these things coming down the track? Every Leaving Cert student knows ‘The Causes of World War I’ – knowledge didn’t prevent it happening. Why did the ‘leaders’, with the notable example of Churchill, not see what was unfolding in Germany in the short few years from 1935 to 1939?

Why did the US not understand the malign dynamic of the Vietnam War during the 1960s – and its consequences for Asia and the global financial system?

Why did ‘leaders’ not envisage the catastrophic impact of the Iraq invasion?

Now, consider this recent statement by Nato: “Since 2014 Allies have implemented the biggest increase in collective defence since the Cold War… Four robust multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland … a brigade in Romania … further steps to improve cyber-defences, civil-preparedness and to defend against ballistic missile attack … extend Nato’s training mission in Iraq and to broaden (its) role in the Central Mediterranean … deploy Nato’s Awac surveillance aircraft to support the Global Coalition to counter Isil…”

Now read the Nato Communique issued after last weekend. This is in just two years. The scale and scope of this process has largely gone unremarked. So too have the ironies: of more “training” in Iraq, of support for a “Global Coalition to counter Isil” when we know that it was the military invasion of Iraq that largely created Isil, of “defensive missile systems” ostensibly operated by Nato, which as a recent article in the ‘Wall Street Journal’ points out, “are essentially American initiatives” – and can be redeployed in hours as a long-range offensive system.

The purported justification for this new militarisation of Europe is the intervention of Russia in Ukraine, culminating in the annexation of the Crimean peninsula and its re-integration into Russia.

What is inferred by Nato from this is that ‘a resurgent Russia’ poses an existential threat to Europe. It doesn’t stand up. It also puts fundamental reform of the EU – and peace – in jeopardy. The sensitivities of Poland and the Baltic states to a military threat from Russia are understandable. But that does not mean the argument driving militarisation is robust. Nor does it mean that their interests, and the interests of peace and stability in Europe, are well served by this militarisation of Europe.

Russia is not the USSR. The rebuilding of its economy and infrastructure, including the modernisation of its defence capability, under President Putin does not remotely equate to a threat to its neighbours.

The military capability of the US dwarfs that of Russia, in terms of assets and the number of bases from which to project those assets. Russia’s defence budget is a fraction of that of the US.

Moreover, the track record, and legacy, of Western military intervention in recent decades demonstrably poses a much greater threat to global peace and stability compared with Russia. But indeed any such comparisons are pitiless and, everywhere, add up to incalculable suffering. The decision by the EU to facilitate accession to the EU by Ukraine and, before that Georgia, was foolish and provocative beyond belief. It was foolish because the expansion of the EU has created a ‘Union’ so unwieldy and overextended in its governance as to pose a threat – now all too evident – to its very existence.

Reflect, for a moment, on a ‘Union’ that also included Ukraine and Georgia. To compound that by facilitating accession to the EU – and, by extension, participation in Nato-led security arrangements – of nations bonded to Russia geographically, historically and in terms of language and culture, went way beyond provocation.

It has kick-started a vicious circle of ratcheting-up ‘defence’ spending. The deployment by Nato of men, heavy equipment and missile systems effectively encircling Russia will inevitably elicit a response.

We have seen this kind of dynamic before – it is taking Europe to a bleak place.

The militarisation of the EU has been rapid, largely invisible and facilitated by self-serving propaganda. Diplomacy provides a better basis for engaging with Russia as a European power, with shared interests at a time of global uncertainty.

Militarisation, now unleashed, threatens Europe.

Economist Ray Kinsella is Professor of Banking and Financial Services, and Healthcare at UCD

Irish Independent.

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